Shamu and the other whales at Sea World in Orlando, Florida amaze crowds with their tricks, and it is indeed a spectacular show. However, the recent death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, raises questions about whether or not confining and training whales for entertainment, and ultimately a profit is cruel.
As of 2007 Tilikum, the whale that is responsible for the recent death, was twenty-two and a half feet in length (22.5 ft.), and at that time he weighed a whopping 12,300 pounds. Of all the whales in captivity Tilikum is said to be the largest, interestingly he is also the most productive sire; his offspring as of 2007 was 13, and at that time 10 where still living.
Sadly, this is not the first time Tilikum has been involved in the death of a human, in July 1999 at Sea World Orlando a naked man was found dead in the tank draped over Tilikum’s body; an autopsy ruled that the death was due to hypothermia because of the tank’s frigid water temperature.
Will Sea World finally free Tilikum? It has been reported that the whale will not be put down which is good news to animal lovers and activist alike, however, many believe that the humane thing to do is to let Tilly return to the open waters; there is concern as to whether or not Sea World will continue to train and use this creature in its shows.
Internationally-known animal rights organization People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) believe that this death could have been prevented if Sea World would have set Tilly (their nickname for Tilikum) free long ago.
If you believe that keeping dolphins and whales in tanks is indeed cruel, (free whales naturally swim a span of 100 miles a day in the open waters) and that Tilikum (Tilly) should be set free please join others who feel as you do by writing to the Blackstone Group, the company that owns Sea World, and request that they release the animals.
You can send your Free Tilly letter to Hamilton James now. Sea World should do what is humane for Tilikum. The whale, Tilly, is not responsible for the stress caused, humans captured and confined a 12,300 pound 22 ½ foot whale in a tank which is like being trapped in a bathtub for a whale who is used to the wide open waters. That what many believe caused the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau not the animal.
Shamu and the other whales, like Tilikum, may fascinate and amaze crowds with the tricks they are trained to do, but these sea animals belong in open waters not cramped in tanks for our entertainment.